BOSTON – A fund created to benefit the victims of last week's Boston Marathon bombings has generated $20 million, said state officials, who vowed to distribute the money by the Fourth of July.
"Never underestimate the charitable impulse of the American people," said One Fund Boston's administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, a Massachusetts native who previously managed the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. "It is a wonderful outpouring, but it will not make people whole."
More than 50,000 donors from across the world have given to the fund, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Tuesday in a press conference at which the details were announced. He said several corporations have each donated $1 million, while Internet donors have given a combined $5 million.
"We are here for you," Menino said. "We will help you move forward."
Gov. Deval Patrick and Menino appointed Feinberg to establish the guidelines to distribute the funds to "qualified recipients." Feinberg said he would hold two town hall meetings in the first week of May to hear from the public. He also said he would meet privately with victims, many of whom lost limbs when the bombs exploded near the marathon's finish line on April 15.
Feinberg said the fund likely would not cover property damage.
The final protocol and claim forms will be available on the fund's website by May 15, and people will have a month to register.
Money will be given to victims regardless of where they live and whether they have insurance, said Feinberg, who will have sole authority over the fund. Recipients will not be required to waive their rights to bring litigation, he said.
Bank of America, which is holding the money, is set to begin distributing checks on June 30. Feinberg said, "One hundred percent will be distributed before the Fourth of July."
Victims can begin to register for the fund online, at onefundboston.org, or by phone, at 855-617-FUND, beginning Wednesday afternoon.